After outscoring their last three opponents 14-8, the Sharks goal barrage was brought to a halt for more than two-and-a-half periods Thursday.
It was’t until over 12 minutes had elapsed in the third when San Jose (36-26-5) finally figured out St. Louis net-minder Jake Allen. It took Joonas Donskoi finding Mikkel Boedker who in turn zipped a wrister from the slot over Allen’s left shoulder ending the scoring and setting the Sharks up for a 2-0 victory over the Blues (35-27-5).
Of the game-winning score, Boedker said:
“I honestly didn’t see it, I heard the ding off the post. I was like, ‘ah, nope.’ But then I saw [Donskoi] with his hands in the air and I was like oh my God. … It was kind of one of those alright, well, it went in it was good.”
Boedker’s pipe-ringer ended a power play scoring slump that stretched back to Feb. 8 against the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
Head coach Pete DeBoer said:
“I think our motivation was the standings. We’ve got 16 games left and everyone’s fighting for a playoff spot. So, we know how important points are and I think the guys were ready to play. It wasn’t an easy game, I thought St. Louis battled hard. Their goalie made some big saves, and the thing I liked was our resiliency.”
Allen made it tough for San Jose all evening, recording 34 saves.
Thanks in large part to Allen’s efforts, the Sharks power play unit continued to struggle as they had a chance to open the scoring as St. Louis’ Vince Dunn was called for hooking 4:58 into the second period. Despite four shots with a man advantage, the Sharks were unable to break a 13-game power play drought.
Even with those recent power play struggles, though, the Sharks top-ranked penalty kill unit (84.7 percent) was able to keep the Blues off the board after a Hertl hooking penalty in the opening minutes of the third period.
DeBoer spoke to the offensive struggles in the first couple periods:
“I think every games going to be different, obviously, they played a real tight defensive game. They’ve got some people out of the lineup and you can tell they were dialed into their defensive game. … It was tight checking all the way through.”
The Sharks recaptured the second seed in the Pacific Division as the Nashville Predators increased their win streak to 10 with a 4-2 victory against the Anaheim Ducks Tuesday night.